Choosing a financial adviser can be intimidating; it’s a decision you need to get right, but you might not be sure how. Find out what a financial planner is and what they do here.
Once you know what you’re looking for, here are three steps to help you decide which financial planner to go with.
Experience is invaluable when it comes to financial planning; you can’t get it from a training course, and you can’t get it from only a few years in the business. Look for someone who has had the time to experience the ups and downs of the financial market – someone who has been there and made their mistakes, so that you can benefit from those lessons.
A financial adviser can become qualified to dispense advice with a minimum of training. To make sure you are getting the best possible advice, look for someone with a diploma, advanced diploma or degree in a relevant field – finance, economics, accounting or financial planning.
Another thing to consider is their client experience – what kind of client do they normally work with? If you are looking at planning your retirement, a financial adviser who mainly deals with young families will not be as helpful to you as someone who deals specifically with retirees.
Also, be aware that there are cases where companies have made false claims regarding their products or services – it’s best to avoid those companies for your own benefit. Read about a recent SMSF case here.
Large financial institutions, or those companies affiliated with one, will often remunerate their employees through commission. This means that these financial advisers have income incentives to steer you in the direction of certain services and products, regardless of whether or not they suit your situation.
On the other hand, there are boutique specialists who have moved away from brokerage and commissions. These financial advisers will charge either a flat fee, an annual fee, or by the hour.
Looking at the pay structure of your financial adviser is a good way to determine how invested they will be in catering to your needs. Will they be looking at all options available to you in order to help you achieve your goals? Or will they be selling you certain products and services for a nice commission?
After considering their experience, qualifications, and payment structure, it comes down to a matter of trusting your instincts when choosing your financial adviser. When you meet with them, do you feel like you are being educated, or sold to? Are they happy to work around a structure that suits your needs and goals, or are you constantly paying fees just to ensure their service?
Is everything explained to you clearly so that you have an understanding of where your money is going, or do they hide behind jargon and ‘confidentiality’ agreements? Arming yourself with information is important in making a decision about a financial planner, but so is going with your ‘gut’. If you don’t feel valued as a client, choose someone else.
Choosing a financial adviser doesn’t need to be hard. Contact us at Peacheys Investment Services today to find out how we can help you reach your financial goals.
For even further information, you can visit ASIC’s Moneysmart page and review their advice on choosing a financial planner.